A state Senator, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, was shot in the church mass murder last night. We know absolutely nothing of the shooter’s motivations or even who it is but of course, this looks a lot like the Gabrielle Giffords Shot: Congresswoman Shot In Arizona not far from my university home in Tucson. Nearly the same number of people were killed in that event. The killer in Tucson was deranged. We have no idea of what motivated or the mental condition of the killer in South Carolina. Like the Sandy Hook mass murderer or the Aurora Colorado movie theater mass killer, the most common thread with these people is mental instability or outright insanity.
It has been suggested that the shooting was timed to coincide with two large political rallies in the city, as just hours before Rev Pinckney met with Hillary Clinton as part of her presidential campaign and Jeb Bush was also due to visit Charleston today but his appearance has now been canceled… The suspect is described as a clean-shaven, 21-year-old white male and is believed to be wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and Timberland boots.
Police were seen soon after taking a man matching the description into custody.
However, the man was released and the Charleston Police Department tweeted that the gunman was still at large.
It is quite natural to assume this is a race based murder. But seeing how it is so very much like so many other previous killings, the chances that this is someone who is deranged and wanting lots of attention and to have chaos in his wake is very high. Often times, people who are going crazy will latch onto some sort of justification for their planned attacks though there are cases like the very recent German airlines pilot who decided for utterly no reasons at all to kill everyone deliberately in his planned suicide.
That case reminds us how little motivation suicidal people need to do a mass murder. Jared Lee Loughner is the shooter in Tucson. Here are some facts about him:
Tong Shan, a former friend and classmate of Loughner’s, recalled observing significant changes in his attitude and demeanor a year prior to the shooting. Shan, who became friends with Loughner on the day of their high school graduation, said that they would often spend time together after class in college but lost touch after the semester ended. When they met again in mid-2010, Shan recalled that Loughner appeared, “Radically different. […] From the way he was talking to me [online]… you can see. It was just questions and questions and random, weird questions that didn’t go together,” she said. “He wanted to know everything…he would just trip out.” Recounting her early experiences with Loughner in light of the shooting, Shan said Loughner was “a good person that just somehow changed so much. I don’t know what the hell happened to him.”
Shan stated that her last encounter with Loughner was in October 2010, after he was suspended and dropped out of college and just before he purchased the semi-automatic handgun used in the massacre. She said that while Loughner was “anti-government,” he never appeared violent, nor did he mention his plans to buy a gun.
Alarmed friends, family and others tried desperately to get help for him, he was addled by drug abuse and scared everyone around him but due to laws passed about putting deranged people in hospitals…making it nearly impossible to do this until they finally do something horrible namely, murder people, no one can stop people who plunge into insanity and who then refuse any help or medication.
This is a choice we have made in this society. Was the present mass murder gunman crazy? Or sane and doing this for cold political reasons? We cannot tell yet. I am for stronger laws for insanity cases. I am very lucky that my husband, when he was brain damaged at work, listened to my demand he go to the hospital and stay there until he was under control. He goes every time I ask him and this is quite heroic of him. But someone suffering from severe mental illness thinks they are totally sane when they are not at all sane. Convincing them to voluntarily go into a hospital for treatment is nearly impossible.
The present killer who was evidently wearing a disguise or maybe not (precious little information is being released) may get away with this entirely. Just like the two murderers in New York who conspired with a woman working in the prison to escape, for far, not found at all.
One of the unfortunate effects of the church shooting in South Carolina is how everyone might react. One hopes that everyone helps capture this mass killer just like all other mass killers and that it is not used to race bait. But that is hoping too much. Like most assassinations, the desired effect is for more outrage and mindless fury aimed at the wrong targets like we saw with the Charlie Hebdo killings. The response fixed nothing and things are getting worse, not better.
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